Whether you pay your employees weekly, biweekly, monthly, or semimonthly, odds are your company’s scheduled payday might land on a bank holiday or weekend sooner or later. Should that happen, don’t panic—you have options. We’ll break down all the payroll holiday rules below so you can navigate holiday and weekend paydays with ease.
Why Can’t Employees Be Paid on Bank Holidays and Weekends?
Bank holidays are business days when banks and financial institutions are closed to observe a public holiday, like Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or Memorial Day. Bank holidays are set in advance and recognized by the Federal Reserve.
If banks are closed for a holiday or the weekend, they cannot process or transfer funds on your intended payroll date. To avoid paying employees late, make sure you’re familiar with all of the federal bank holidays listed below:
2018 and 2019 Bank Holidays
New Year’s Day
Monday, January 1
Tuesday, January 1
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, January 15
Monday, January 29
Washington’s Birthday / Presidents’ Day
Monday, February 19
Monday, February 18
Monday, May 28
Monday, May 27
Wednesday, July 4
Thursday, July 4
Monday, September 3
Monday, September 2
Monday, October 8
Monday, October 14
Sunday, November 12
Monday, November 11
Thursday, November 22
Thursday, November 28
Tuesday, December 25
Wednesday, December 25
What Happens if Payday Falls on a Bank Holiday?
If payday falls on a bank holiday, payroll professionals have two options:
1. Pay employees the business day before the bank holiday
2. Pay employees the day after the bank holiday
Neither option is better than the other, employers can pick whichever policy they prefer. Just try to remain consistent to avoid confusion. Additionally, an earlier or later payroll date may affect your processing deadlines so be sure to stay on top of deadlines and notify employees about the new payday date. If you work with a third-party payroll processor, work with them to clarify your processing schedule.
What Happens if Payday Falls on a Saturday or Sunday?
No Sunday scaries here—just like when payday falls on a bank holiday, you can choose to pay employees either the day before or after the weekend. Employees can’t always pick up paper checks on weekends, and direct deposit won’t hit employee bank accounts until the banks reopen on Monday, so plan on moving payday to the Friday before or Monday after the weekend.
Holiday and Weekend Payroll Tips
Now that you know what to do when your payday falls on a bank holiday or weekend, here are some tips on how to best communicate your approach to your employees:
• Be Consistent — Decide whether your company will pay employees before or after a bank holiday or weekend and stick to that schedule. Flip-flopping might confuse employees and your payroll team, so be sure to maintain a consistent payment schedule.
• Be Clear — Make sure your employees know when they’ll be paid. Share a payday calendar on your company intranet, so employees know when to expect their direct deposit.
• Stay on Track — An earlier or later than usual payday could throw you and your team for a loop. Make sure you have all employee hours submitted in time to meet your processing deadlines. Send out calendar invites to remind your hourly workers to submit their hours so you don’t have to chase anyone down and risk missing your deadlines.
• Plan Ahead — Don’t get caught by surprise! Use an HR calendar at the beginning of the year to keep track of approaching bank holidays or weekend paydays, and so you don’t miss any important dates or deadlines.
Are you inundated with employee paycheck questions? Now that you’re familiar with payroll holiday rules, dive even deeper into the nuances of payday with our Making Sense of Employee Paystubs guide. We’ll break down tax and benefits deductions, retirement contributions, and other pieces of critical compensation information. If you aren’t already, you’ll be a payroll pro in no time!
Lyssa Test is a Sr. Content Specialist at Namely, the all-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits platform built for today's employees. Connect with Lyssa and the Namely team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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